Two David Bellion goals helped champions Bordeaux outclass Lorient 4-1 in Ligue 1 on Saturday, ensuring they end the year in top spot.
Forward Bellion, usually a substitute but starting this time, opened the scoring against the run of play after 11 minutes. He raced into the box to strike a low angled shot and then doubled the lead with a similar goal before half-time.
Mid-table Lorient had just missed a penalty when Argentine striker Fernando Cavenaghi made it 3-0 after a counter-attack in the 52nd minute. Playmaker Yoann Gourcuff added a stylish fourth before Kevin Gameiro struck a late consolation for Lorient.
"We struggled for the first 10 minutes but then started playing really well, showing we're a strong team," Bordeaux defender Mathieu Chalme told French TV channel Canal Plus. "It's a pity we conceded a goal but you can't have everything.".
Third-placed Montpellier dropped 10 points off the pace with a 2-0 home defeat by Nancy in a game played behind closed doors after Montpellier fans threw firecrackers on to the pitch at Nice in August, forcing the match to be halted for 20 minutes.
Chaouki Ben Saada struck five minutes from time to end Nice's four-game losing streak and earn a 1-1 draw with Grenoble.
The game seemed set for a goalless draw until Nassim Akrour gave the league's bottom side the lead after 75 minutes. The advantage lasted just 10 minutes though as Ben Saada finished from close range to earn his side a point.
Ismael Bangoura's first-half goal gave Rennes a 1-0 win over Paris St Germain which moved them above their opponents in Ligue 1.
The game's decisive moment came five minutes before half-time when Bangoura found the target after good work by Gyan and Tettey.
Valenciennes missed the chance to put pressure on their fellow European hopefuls as they were held to a goalless draw by Lens in Ligue 1. The hosts, who drop to seventh in the table, dominated the match but could not find the breakthrough.
Marseille looked set to pick up the points in St Etienne after the home side had Greek defender Efstathios Tavlaridis sent off for a challenge on Ivory Coast striker Bakari Kone on eight minutes, but ended up with a 0-0 draw.
Struggling St Etienne, who sacked coach Alain Perrin in midweek and replaced him with his assistant Christophe Galtier, fought hard and keeper Jeremie Janot pulled off a series of spectacular stops.
The game between Boulogne and Sochaux was postponed because of a frozen pitch but all other matches went ahead. There is one more programme of games next week before the winter break.